Re: [GTh] The division of the soul
----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Grondin" <mwgrondin@...>
Sent: Friday, July 16, 2004 6:17 AM
Subject: Re: [GTh] The division of the soul
<SNIP Very Interesting Stuff I basically agree with>
> I think that this satisfactorily explains "upper/lower" (at least in
> terms), but what about "inside/outside"? At its most obvious level, I
> that "the outside" must have been that part of a person or object that
> normally be visible - e.g., the body or flesh. Would the "inside" be the
> light hidden within - i.e., the spirit? But the soul is inside as well, so
> perhaps the second mention of inside/outside was intended to suggest that
> "the inside" also itself had an inside and an outside (rather like a large
> ball having a medium ball inside of it, and that medium ball in turn
> a small ball inside it.) Frank McCoy has developed some thoughts along
> line, and so I'll leave it at that, except to address the gender question:
> IF upper and lower were considered gender-related, then it seems that "the
> upper" must have been thought to be masculine (conceptually, not
> grammatically), and IF "the inside" and "the outside" were considered
> gender-related, then I'd venture to say that "the inside" (being the
> must have been thought to be masculine. This would be consistent with the
> saying that "the Kingdom is inside of you, and outside of you" - i.e.,
> both hidden and visible in some sense, i.e., it's androgynous.
There are various erferences eg Clement's Excerpta ex Theodoto
and in Valentinianism more generally to masculine angels (above)
compared to feminine human spirits (below) so I'm quite happy
with upper being masculine and lower feminine.
I'm less certain about inside and outside. I suspect you're right
that inside represents the superior right hand masculine side and
outside the inferior left hand feminine side but I find it hard to be
One possible argument is that inside and outside refers to Luke
17 20-21 (kingdom of heaven inside you) but I'm not sure
whether the parallels in GTh 3 and 113 support an emphasis in
Thomas on the inwardness of the kingdom.
A better 'gnostic' parallel may be Gospel of Mary page 8 'The Son of
Man is within you'
On the whole I think your basic interpretation of inside and outside
is probably sound but I can't find conclusive evidence.
> Afterword: In the Greek version of saying 2, the sequence of events ends
> with the person being "at rest" - which according to the above is a
> masculine state. But the Coptic version of saying 2 doesn't have that
> clause - it ends with "rule over everything", which doesn't appear to be a
> restful state. Is that because the Copts saw that the clause referring to
> rest would suggest that the ultimate goal was a masculine state, whereas
> they wanted the ultimate goal to be an androgynous state - as in "What is
> the sign of the Father within you?" answered by "Motion and rest " - a
> combination of masc and fem elements? This may be a case of Coptic
> to make GTh more gnostic - more consistent with ApocJn.
Later (neo)-Platonism refers to a spiritual realm which simultaneously
possesses opposing pairs of qualities. This is the realm of Nous
immediately below the ultimate One to whom no qualities can be
ascribed. Whether these ideas could have influenced Thomas I'm not
sure. Such ideas seem to develop first in the Pythagorean tradition (eg
Moderatus of Gades) which may support the idea of the influence of
Pythagorean categories on Thomas.
- Hi Andrew,
> I suspect you're right that inside represents the superior right handFirstly, I haven't claimed that there's "an emphasis in Thomas on the
> masculine side and outside the inferior left hand feminine side
> but I find it hard to be sure.
> One possible argument is that inside and outside refers to Luke
> 17 20-21 (kingdom of heaven inside you) but I'm not sure
> whether the parallels in GTh 3 and 113 support an emphasis in
> Thomas on the inwardness of the kingdom.
inwardness of the kingdom". Although it does seem clear that "the inside" of
an individual was regarded as superior to the outer flesh/body, it doesn't
follow that the Kingdom was thought to be "mostly inside" (which is another
way of saying "emphasize inwardness"). In line with what I believe to be its
"third way" posture, GTh presents "the Kingdom" as being both inside and
outside, so that to embrace it was to become in some sense androgynous. I
wouldn't say that GTh "refers to" GLk, because that wording presupposes a
textual dependence that I believe to be questionable, but Lk 17:20-21 does
capture the same two distinct thoughts as Th3 and 113, namely that (1) the
Kingdom isn't *geographically* distant, and (2) the Kingdom isn't
*temporally* distant, from the contemporary earth and its inhabitants. In
other words, it's here and then-now. So why don't (uninitiated) men see it?
Presumably, because it exists within folks who believe in it. Uninitiated
folks do see the people of the kingdom, but they don't *know* that they're
people of the kingdom, so "the kingdom" is both visible and hidden, as it
were. (I think this reconstruction of the thinking behind 113 is consistent
with other parts of the text.)
> On the whole I think your basic interpretation of inside and outsideIt seems that the mind of a person is presented as being torn between the
> is probably sound but I can't find conclusive evidence.
physical desires of the external body and the spiritual desires of the inner
spirit. The "light" within a person is hidden from normal sight. Again, it
doesn't follow that GTh recommends an exclusively-inward turn toward
self-contemplation and isolation. I think that the Thomaines' "third way"
was to act in such a way as to become "light to the world", i.e., to make
one's "inner light" manifest to others. The decision of which "master" to
follow, i.e., how to act in the world, seems clearly to be inner-directed,
which is to say that "the inside" of a person is the active, "live" (read
'male') force. The outer flesh/body is part of the "corpse" of the material
One thing that's been nagging me about this whole picture is that certain
sayings don't seem to conform to it, and methodologically, no analysis can
be considered complete if it fails to confront and explain textual evidence
which appear to place it in doubt. . To take one example, Jesus is made to
recommend that the disciples find a place of rest or repose for themselves
so that "the world" wouldn't "kill" and "eat" them. Given that we've
stipulated that the concept of "rest" was generally a feminine concept, what
sense does it make to suggest that all disciples seek a feminine element?
Did the author of this saying assume that the disciples were male, and thus
that this "repose" constituted a female component needed for them to become
androgynous? (Whereas the passive female would need to be led to action, as
in 114, to androgynize her inherent female passivity?) OK, but what about
the notion of unity (oneness)? The author thinks that that's desirable, but
we've labelled it a masculine element, so how does that fit with the ideal
of androgyny? It may be that "the one" that "the two" were to become was
thought to be an androgynous unity (reflective of "the realm of the Nous"
you mentioned?), somewhat different than the ideal oneness of God or the
Monad, but I confess to being somewhat confused on this issue.
Mt. Clemens, MI